Battle Plan Roll 6s

Monday, February 25, 2013

Space Wolf Army Build Thoughts & List

Howdy folks.  Of late my mind has been on my Wolves and Guard, and competitive list building for the lead-up to Adepticon and events in between.  I’ve had no problem building Imperial Guard centralized lists.  Imperial Guard stepped up really well into 6th edition.  Their firepower is still great, they have a strong flier presence, blobs are still durable.  They suffer a bit from the fact that their mobile troops are like tissue paper and have trouble holding objective on the far side of the board, but otherwise they’re fairly good.  Both those problems are easily mitigated by allies or worked around, and the addition of a rune priest to a blobbed platoon gives them a very creditable (if slow) deathstar that can handle a variety of targets.

But this article isn’t about my IG.  This article is about my Space Wolves.  I’ve really struggled to come up with a Space Wolf army that can make the competitive cut on its own since 6th edition came out.  The problem really boils down to one thing for me.  Flyer Defense.  

Space wolves don’t have any; period.  Their only options are ignoring them (which went out the window the day the Helldrake arrived on the scene), fortifications, and allies.

There are a couple of lists I’ve built using fortifications that I like; however, they all depend on the game being 2,000 Points or more, and on double force organization being allowed (so that two Quad guns can be taken).  With not all events taking place at 2K, and with many denying double force org, I just don’t feel like those lists are reliable enough.  Plus at the end of the day; while a pair of quad guns is sufficient against light fliers, I don’t feel like they’re enough cover against heavily armored fliers or large numbers of fliers/flying monstrous creatures.

So that leaves me with one option effectively which is allies.  I hate having to pay the ‘HQ/Troop’ tax to get what I need out of the codex.  Now in my original thinking (some months back) only one of the non-desperate allies (BT/BA/DA/GK/IG/SoB/SM/Tau) was able to provide more than a single anti-air option, which mean almost all were ultimately going to be insufficient, and far too points heavy given the ally tax.

However last night I was pondering over this and realized that I’d been ignoring the one army that could provide me with two anti-air options because one of them felt gimped.  Codex Imperial Guard. 

Codex IG provides two anti-air options; the obvious Vendetta (never take squadrons), and the Hydra Flak Tank Battery.  I’d previously dismissed the Hydra Battery as useless, because they lacked interceptor and could therefore only fire snap shots at ground targets, making them ‘useless’ against armies without Fliers/Skimmers/Flying MCs.   It occurred to me recently how rarely I play against opponents who don’t have one of those….  Then I started doing the math and realized that stacked up against the auxiliary units I usually bring with my space wolves I wasn’t even losing that much anti-ground firepower. 

Lately I’ve been bringing pairs of Dual-Autocannon dreadnoughts in my competitive SW list.  In fact; see below for my Feast of Blades list this past year. 

A Hydra Squadron w/ 2x Hydras comes in at 150 Pts, as compared with a dreadnought's 125 Pts.  So they’re a very close swap.  The dreadnought averages ~3.6 hits per turn against ground targets, and ~1.2 per turn against fliers.  The 2x Hydras average ~2.5 hits per turn against ground targets, and 6 hits per turn against fliers.  So for the loss of a single hit against ground, I gain 5 hits against air (and ignore jink saves), while having the same front armor, and twice as many hull points.  That screamed worthwhile in my book, and with that in mind I’ve come up with the following draft list. 

As you can see I’ve given up two Dual Autocannon Dreads, a 5 Man Grey Hunter Squad, and a Las-Plas Razorback, and downgraded my sergeants from fists to swords/axes.

However I’ve gained a vendetta, two hydras, a veteran squad with lascannon, and a command squad with a lascannon.

I have the same number of kill points, the same number of scoring units, and the same number of vehicles (noting that one is now a flier and has a higher AV).  The two lascannons in the IG infantry make up for the lost razorback lascannon & plasma gun (and will likely be twin linked thanks to orders).  The hydras put out the same almost amount of anti-ground fire as the one lost dread (and much much more against flier), while the swap of the other dreads two autocannons for the Vendetta’s 3 Lascannons is really a no brainer.  The only real losses to the army were the power fists, which I feel is survivable.  They were getting challenged out a lot anyway.

Gameplay-wise the army should work about the same as my old space wolf list.  The aegis defense line insures that none of my vehicles are easy targets on turn 1 (first blood is still a problem).  Any of the 3 weaker units (Command Squad/GH Squad/Vet Squad) can be given control of the quad gun, and can generally be trusted to grab objectives in my back field, while the heavy weapon elements cut up my opponent hard, and the grey hunters move up to capture midfield. 

I’m pondering some adjustments and tweaks here and there to strengthen the grey hunter advance, and optimize my firepower (autocannons vs lascannons in Guard units for example), but the good news is that I have plenty of firepower if I want to shed some for more warm bodies.  On the whole I feel like it’s a very solid first draft for what could be a very good competitive army. 

Any thoughts?

ADDENDUM:  A quick note regarding my comments on allies that provide more than one anti-air option.  This has recently changed.  With the release of Dark Angels last month, and Death From the Skies last week, there are in fact 4 Codicies that provide multiple anti-air options to an army (see below).    I’m not impressed by DA (Jetfighter sucks), but I find the BT/SM option to be…intriguing.  A storm-talon escorting a storm-raven onto the board feels like a strong combo though pricey.

I may have to point that out and see how things come together.

Dark Angels
Fast Attack – Nephilim Jetfighter
Heavy Support – Devastators

Black Templar/Space Marines
Fast Attack – Storm Talon
Heavy Support – Storm Raven

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